Today we didn’t get rolling until after 10 AM, hoping the rain would end. It did, aside from occasional drizzle and the clouds flung up by passing truck tires. Maybe Maine moose were hiding in the mist.
Soon we left Maine. We were greeted by a copy of the sign we saw when we previously entered New Hampshire from Massachusetts.
We don’t understand the state motto displayed on this sign. For starters, what is “living free”? The State formerly said you were not free to obscure the motto on your New Hampshire license plates; the U.S. Supreme Court put a stop to that in 1977.
We encountered many interesting people today. Some of our contacts were in passing: lots of waves, horn toots, smiles. One man called from the passenger window in a passing SUV, “I don’t know you, but I love you!” and gave us a thumbs-up. Others asked if we needed anything.
Maryann and Maya were out for a walk in Alton.
Maryann is a registered professional nurse, originally from Staten Island, where her sister still lives. We had a long talk about nursing: stresses, staffing shortages, and the dishonesty of management. Maryann has had a varied career, from the ICU to surgery to school nursing and more. She has encountered plenty of immigrants and refugees in her profession, and wholeheartedly believes that good people who are fleeing persecution or poverty and who are willing to pull their weight according to their ability, should be welcomed to our country. Without ever having heard of us, she was and is philosophically a supporter of Human Rights First. She suffered bike-induced pain during a Boston-NYC bike ride to benefit AIDS research; she was intrigued by our recumbent vehicle and will look into trying one herself.
A bit down the road, Doug called out to us.
Doug, a jack-of-all-trades, asked about our Cause. He thinks providing lawyers for asylum applicants is a great idea. He knows Maryann and Maya, and his girlfriend runs this dog resort.
The Chichester (NH) library seems stuck in a time warp, in contrast to the Sanford (ME) library, where everything is up-to-the-minute.
This is America: a recreational vehicle as big as the house next to it!
Quintessential New Hampshire view.
Wildlife, with a glove for scale.
This pond had mammals swimming in it. I could see the wakes and ripples, but couldn’t determine the species.
Olivia, who checked us in to our motel in Concord and helped us store the Sprint 26 when it wouldn’t fit through our room’s narrow door, has worked with asylees from Nepal who fled religious persecution. She said learning her Nepalese friends’ history was eye-opening.
We’re glad to know that while we’re just passing through, Olivia will remain and remind her neighbors that asylees aren’t some abstract concept, but real people who just want safety and the chance to live life like anyone else.
Speaking of passing through . . . and love . . . and rocks to go with those we pictured a few days ago . . .
. . . Jeffrey has been reading John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World, a gift from Kathy Jones of Human Rights First. We knew that rocks take a long time to form. But we didn’t know the half of it. The sediments that make layers of shale or that wind up as granite, take eons to become rock. The sediments are eroded bits of ancient mountains that themselves took eons to form and disintegrate. And those mountains may have formed from even earlier mountains that rose and eroded . . .
We felt small and ephemeral before McPhee’s revelation hit us. Now we feel even smaller and ready to blow away in a brisk wind. In contrast to rocks, we humans have so little time. It seems silly to spend it being petty to others – by denying refuge to the persecuted, for example.
On these Rides, the people we meet love their neighbors. We don’t think they are the exceptions. We’ll keep rolling and stopping and talking to test our theory that, if people quietly hear the truth about immigrants, refugees and asylum, they’ll support the generous policies advocated by Human Rights First.